Oh thinkin’ about all our younger years
There was only you and me
We were young and wild and free
—Heaven, Bryan Adams (1983)
Here are some memories I thought I’d share on this Memorial Day.
This is a picture of Joe, a young Cold War veteran. The picture was taken around 1987. Wasn’t he handsome? Here’s another one of him with his buddy. That’s Joe on the left.
Joe and I graduated together in 1985. I loved him very much and always will. After graduation, he joined the Army and I went off to college. We kept in touch, though, and I still have the letters he wrote to me while he was in boot camp. I was so young and clueless and had no idea how tough basic training was on him and all the other Gen X boys. He asked me to pray for him in all his letters. I did of course, all the time, and I wanted nothing more than to be with Joe for the rest of my life. Ahhh, young love.
In 1988, Joe was badly injured in a car accident. He never recovered from his injuries and was in a coma for several years before he died in 1994. This is the part of the story I hate. And, I hate it more with every passing year because it’s another year that Joe isn’t here to grow old with the rest of us. We never got to lose touch in those days before social media. We never got to reconnect on Facebook. So many years have come and gone. So many people have died, famous and not famous, and the world has been re-populated with Millennials and Generation Z.
All my memories of growing up in the 80s are like the boxes of vinyl records in my basement. They’re too heavy to drag upstairs; too time-consuming to thumb through. I don’t have the emotional energy for memory lane, and also, I don’t have a record player anymore. I have 50 some odd songs on a tiny thing called an iPod. It’s so obscene. I miss gatefold covers and the inserts with lyrics. And, I miss laughing with Joe so much. I miss his love and friendship. He would have always remembered me as I was at 17. I hope I will see him again someday!
Happy Memorial Day, friends! Gather close, for life can be such a cold war.